EURELECTRIC is positive about the energy security package published by the European Commission today and its contribution towards implementing the Energy Union. The Commission’s proposals on gas and its strategy on heating & cooling certainly point in the right direction, even if EURELECTRIC sees a few areas of concern.
EURELECTRIC reiterates its call for competitive, liquid and well-functioning gas markets throughout the EU. A better integrated gas market will contribute to increasing hubs’ liquidity and deliver better price signals to all gas end-users. Against this background, EURELECTRIC supports the European Commission’s strategy for LNG and gas storage published today in that it recognises the importance of completing the internal gas market and highlights possible missing links. We believe that the use of existing LNG terminals, storage and pipelines should be optimised, removing bottlenecks where a significant market interest deems it necessary. Priority should then be given to the most tenable projects, to be identified through strict and comprehensive cost benefit analyses.
EURELECTRIC appreciates the Commission’s stance in favour of a regional approach when addressing gas security of supply issues and stronger cooperation between Member States for both risk assessment and emergency management. We also welcome the proposed inclusion of the needs of gas-fired power plants in the risk assessments and in both Preventive and Emergency Plans, as emergencies declared in a gas market could result in load shedding being imposed on gas-fired power stations. In this context, EURELECTRIC appeals for strong cooperation between gas and electricity TSOs.
Concerning heating and cooling, EURELECTRIC believes that a successful strategy must recognise several key issues. These must include a clear recognition that as the electricity sector’s greenhouse gas emissions are strongly decreasing, electricity should play a key role in decarbonising heating and cooling, and will bring other important benefits, such as improvements in air quality. It is also important to provide consumers with choice, affordability, security and quality of services through markets, and to recognise the fact that a ‘one size fits all’ approach cannot work. The solutions must therefore allow the necessary freedom to Member States to assess their national and local challenges and opportunities.
EURELECTRIC welcomes the fact that the Commission’s strategy for heating and cooling presented today recognises the key role of electricity coming from renewable and decarbonised sources in the decarbonisation of the European economy. EURELECTRIC supports the recognition of the synergies in the energy system, many of which will be unlocked through a smarter electricity system. We also welcome that the Commissions’ strategy acknowledges the central role to be played by consumers and we will work to ensure that this is reflected in concrete proposals for action. Finally, we welcome the Commission’s engagement to bridge the gap in energy efficiency financing: without increased investment, the decarbonisation of heating will inevitably be severely delayed.
Over the coming weeks EURELECTRIC will analyse all elements of this package and will present a detailed statement on these, including a position paper on the heating and cooling strategy.